May 25, 2014
You Could Be In Star Wars VII For $10
The director of the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Episode VII, is offering anyone who is willing to donate $10 or more to UNICEF the opportunity to play a small roll in the film. J.J. Abrams appeared in a video from the movie’s secretive set in Abu Dhabi to announce a new charity campaign run by Disney, Lucasfilm, and his own production company, Bad Robot. The initiative is called Star Wars: Force for Change, The Verge reports.
Anyone who donates will be entered into a random prize draw, and if their name is drawn out, they will be flown to the set, which by then will have moved from the desert in Abu Dhabi to Pinewood Studios in the UK. They will be guests of Abrams and will presumably don some sort of spectacular costume that will transform them into a weird and wonderful creature, and will stand around in the background of a particular scene. Although details regarding anything about the movie’s plot are being closely guarded, Abrams has said that this scene is unlikely to be cut out during the edit. Consequently, the lucky winner will enter into Star Wars legend along with all the other creatures that have appeared in the series over the years, no matter how small a part they play.
But this does not all come down to luck. Individuals can make multiple donations and gain an entry for each one that is $10 or over. So, somebody donating $1000 would have a far greater chance of being pulled out of the hat, or possibly Darth Vader helmet, than someone who only makes a small donation. Of course, some people may bid much more. The system is the brainchild of Ryan Cummins and Matt Pohlson, founders of Omaze, a company that offers charity packages that work more along the lines of Kickstarter crowdfunding than traditional charity auctions.
Previous projects have included riding in a tank with Arnold Schwarzenegger to benefit after school programs, and going for dinner with George Clooney to raise money for satellite imaging in Sudan. The chance to ride to a Breaking Bad season premiere with Bryan Cranston earned $20,000 at a traditional charity auction, but $1.7 million through the Omaze system. As with Kickstarter, certain levels of donations will get you different prizes beyond the chance to be in the movie. They include T-shirts, Millennium Falcon posters, and lightsaber hilts. For $50,000, you can get the chance to see the film a day earlier than its official release in December, 2015.
This is Force For Change’s first campaign, and UNICEF’s Christopher Fabian said that for the United Nations children’s charity, which works with “the greatest technologists and designers of our time” to help their cause, “the support from Star Wars: Force for Change will help to bind these innovators together on a mission to solve the world’s most pressing problems, and create a better future.” Anyone who has seen Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan Kenobi in more recent Star Wars movies) in Long Way Round and Long Way Down, the documentaries where he travels the world on the back of a motorcycle, will know that he is also a long time supporter and representative of UNICEF.
Overall, a happy situation, then. This seems to be a very efficient way of raising money for charity, and although the odds are in favor of higher bidders, we could all — in theory — have our chance to appear in one of the most popular film franchises of all time. Let’s just hope they don’t let a member of the public actually write characters again, as they did with Jar Jar Binx. Okay, obviously I made that up, but serious Star Wars fans tend to think that the character from Episodes I through III was generally a little amateurish in his conception. Still, you can’t win them all.
Image Credit: Star Wars YouTube channel